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Tuesday, March 05, 2013 

It wasn't enough for Damian Wayne to die...

MTV Geek News reports that Grant Morrison had to have it done in as grisly a fashion as possible:
So Robin the Boy Wonder -- in the form of Batman's son Damian Wayne -- is dead, killed after a brutal fight with his cloned brother. His back is apparently broken -- an homage to Batman's similar fate with Bane -- and he is stabbed, strangled, and thrown into a wall. In the end, Batman cradles his bloody dead body in another scene familiar to comic fans -- that of the death of Jason Todd.

[...] Damian Wayne -- Robin -- wasn't even a teen, as Jason Todd was. He was a child. In the relentless scene leading to his death in "Batman Incorporated" #8, it is clearly a child who is being stabbed, who is spitting up blood. Batman is clearly holding the bloody body of a child at the end of that comic.

And I am asking: is that tasteless?
It most tragically is. More importantly, I think it's yet another dismal exercise in futile shock tactics. By contrast, Jason Todd's death was nowhere near as graphic, and while the first blow the Joker landed with the crowbar could be seen on panel, it was not depicted graphicly (i.e-no blood streaming out instantly), and the rest were shown very indirectly. We've obviously come a long way if that's no longer enough for any modern day writer/artist.

The NY Post also ran a slideshow of Robin throughout the years, and the weirdest part is that they call 1988's Death in the Family just what it unfortunately was in the day - a stunt. They called it the "Ugliest promotional stunt in comics history." Pretty rich coming from a paper that willingly took part in promoting another one, replete with that Holy Fill-in-the-blank exclamation derived from the 1966-68 ABC-TV series.

Other than the idiocy of taking part in promoting a stunt like this without even questioning if it's even a good idea to begin with from both an artistic and a marketing perspective, they're right that unfortunately, it was a publicity stunt, one of the earliest of its kind, and took the cheapie route of just killing a character without even trying to improve on any mistakes made in characterization post-Crisis. The saving grace was that unlike a lot of the stunts they've concocted since, it was largely self-contained and wasn't meant to impact the entire DCU. All the same, I think it was foolish to encourage readers even remotely to take part in voting for Jason Todd's death; if they really had to do it, I'm sure they could have made the decision themselves.

The issue of Batman Inc. #8 featuring Damien Wayne's death is now being sold on eBay, for prices like 10 dollars or more. It's regrettable that stunts like these are still being exploited for fast bucks when the whole issue won't be worth a nickel in 4 minutes, but this is another joke the publicity stunts have resulted in. Now, we have cynics exploiting the unwitting for making money off of something worthless, and it's another serious blow to the comics medium's image.

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